After the initial period of coursework, students choose their specialty fields from a diverse list of topics. They proceed with research in their specialty areas until the generation and defense of a thesis leads to the award of a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Students complete the core set of courses and three research rotations in the first year.
All graduate students are strongly encouraged to be a Teaching Assistant for one semester during their graduate training. This assistantship may be in the Medical Neurobiology class or arranged with the Course Director in the Neuroscience Core courses.
An important part of graduate education is to learn the skills necessary to write effective grant proposals. During the spring neuroscience course students write a proposal in the format of an NIH grant application. Two neuroscience faculty mentors, experienced in grant writing and reviewing, direct the the grant writing exercise. Strategies for grant writing are discussed in a class setting and potential specific aims are discussed with the faculty mentors prior to writing the proposal. At the end of the course, students form mock study sections where they evaluate (confidentially) the proposals written by their peers.